The Vernon Curling Club has been converted into a makeshift shelter to house residents of the Gateway and Our Place shelters to ensure proper social distancing amid COVID-19. (Turning Points Collaborative Society)

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

The Vernon Curling Club has been transformed to house all guests of both Our Place and Gateway Shelter sites together under one roof to provide more space for physical distancing.

The Public Safety Minister called for a provincewide response to COVID-19 on March 26, as directed by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Under the Emergency Program Act, the minister issued ministerial orders, one of which asked municipalities to identify public spaces that could be used, if necessary.

Recognizing a potential need, Turning Points Collaborative Society, BC Housing, Interior Health and the City of Vernon identified the curling rink as good site to amalgamate the two sites due to its size, available amenities and proximity to essential services.

“The amalgamation of these two sites into a larger facility allows for far greater physical distancing for both clients and staff,” Turning Points Collaborative Society executive director Randene Wejr said.

“This aligns with the provincial health officer’s recommendation around increased physical distancing.”

The curling club now houses 70 beds, each sectioned off into a 10-by-10 area to maximize distancing. Additional sanitization and portable hand-washing stations have been added to the facility and all staff have been equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment, including masks and scrubs.

The site allows for in-house meals, with additional space for clients to sit further apart during meal times, plus increased laundry and shower capabilities, reducing the potential risk of virus transmission.

The larger site also allows for more staff to be on shift, while reducing the need for staff to travel from site to site.

“This plan is designed to keep the virus from being transmitted from employee to resident, employee to employee and from resident to employee,” Wejr said. “This is designed to keep all of us safe and healthy.”

Individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations have higher rates of health concerns and may be at greater risk if exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

READ MORE: North Okanagan company seeks help selecting charity

READ MORE: VIDEO: Shuswap family in isolation rises to musical challenge


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Creative thinkers wanted for North Okanagan hackathon

Talent-themed hackathon will take place at the VIEW in Vernon Oct. 29

Child care planned for Vernon schools

Proposal for four facilities at area elementary sites

Majority of students back in Vernon classrooms

Vernon School District reports 95 per cent of students returned amid COVID-19

Fewer people, but more visits added to Vernon museum

‘Often, you may have the entire museum to yourself and your group, which could be very cool.’

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

Clean up effort ongoing after 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge

Spoon-wielding man draws police presence in Penticton

Police say no one was harmed during the incident

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Most Read